Recently, I have been studying the psychology of anxiety. Anxiety can be inherited. Anxiety has different levels of expression (some people worry more than others). It is also seasonal (older people worry about different things than the younger ones). If your parents (over) worried about you, it is possible that you have inherited that attitude. You think it is normal to worry. That means some people are born worriers. Anxiety is a form of fear. It relates to the survival mechanism. These are both reactions to danger and to perceived danger. What is the difference between fear and anxiety? Generally, fear comes when there is a clear attack. Anxiety is deeper affecting the spirit and the imagination. For example, if I see a snake in the room, I will suddenly become afraid. This fear is normal. It is good. It triggers hormones in my body helping me to run or to fight that snake. But anxiety is different. For example, somebody tells me that there is a snake in the house. I am not seeing it. I start to imagine that snake everywhere I go. That imagination creates anxiety. In the case of fear: once I kill the snake, I stop being afraid. But the anxiety persists because the ‘snake’ is invisible, and the danger is in my imagination.
In many ways, because it has the tendency to become chronic, anxiety is more damaging to health than the occasional fear. Most anxiety comes from triggers in the brain’s area of imagination. In the brain, there is a center that triggers the emotions of fear and anxiety. Then there is another center that stops it. It is easier to start the center of anxiety than to put it off. For example, a single sister is worried that she is getting old and she may not marry. Then one day, she gets married. Thank God! But the old anxiety of singleness persists even after the wedding, troubling her as a married woman and spoiling her joy. The same with a woman, who is praying for many years to have a baby. She is now a mother, but she still worries that she will have no child. The devil complicates that anxiety. This anxious mother is now worried that the baby may die, and she will revert to that state of having no baby. Because of this ‘carry over’ anxiety, she does not enjoy the season of being a mother. Do you see how damaging this chronic anxiety is?
If allowed to persist, anxiety leads to depression. Biblically, anxiety is hypocrisy! Do not justify it! Do not say: ‘If you are in my position you will worry too…’ You must identify and reject it! Anxiety brings only trouble and never anything good. Anxiety makes no good contribution to your spiritual life! It contributes to illness. For example, it affects the eyes, it rises the blood pressure; it can lead to stomach ulcer, heart failure, liver failure, insomnia, sexual disfunctions, infertility and depression. For example, the Prophet Jeremiah was anxious because the people of God were rebellious. He was worried that God will judge them. He experienced chronic anxiety. Read how it affected his health: “My eyes fail with tears: my heart is troubled; my bile is poured on the ground because of the destruction of the daughter of my people… My eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns… My eyes are red from crying, my stomach is in knots, and I feel sick all over. I am exhausted with grief…” (Lam 2:11)
What is the solution? Dear Child of God, when under the attack of anxiety or fear, what do you do? Remember God! Bring your anxiety under the feet of Christ! Leave it there! Do not take it back! I know that you do not doubt God’s greatness! But you often doubt God’s personal loving care to you in particular! Pray with faith! You must choose between prayer and anxiety! One fights the other. Transfer the mental and the emotional energy you use in worrying, into prayer. You never regret prayer. But you will regret the many hours spent in useless worrying. ‘Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus’ (Phil 4:6, 7). The Bible forbids anxiety: Be anxious for nothing but pray! Prayer and the Word are the perfect medicines against anxiety!
Then learn how to speak to your soul: ‘My soul! What is wrong with you! Jesus loves you! Yes, even you! It is well with you, oh my soul!” “Casting all your care (anxieties) upon Him, for He cares for you” (1Pet 5:7). When you heart goes astray and becomes anxious, rebuke it! Do not permit your heart to speak to you. Your heart can deceive you with torments in your imagination. Learn how to speak to your heart. Learn how to encourage yourself! Do it daily. Do it often! It works!
Finally, lift your heart and worship the Lord! No matter the problem, Jesus Christ is bigger and greater than anything! Jesus loves you! He died for you! He is your Savior, Lord, Healer, Provider and Defender! To worry about your life is an insult to your Creator God! With one touch from the Holy Spirit, all problems disappear! God will do it for you! He who brought the flood of earth, decorated His everlasting mercies with the colors of the rainbow! And now, enough with the talking! Let’s worship the Lord, for He alone is worthy! Hallelujah!